The L-1A visa, also known as the intra-company transferee visa for executives or managers, is a special type of L1 visa. The L1A visa allows a U.S. company to transfer one of its executives from a foreign office to its office in the United States. If a foreign company does not have an office in United States, then the company can use L1A visa to send one of its officials to the United States to setup its offices. Similar to H1B or L1B visa, the application for the L1A visa also requires filing of an I-129 petition for a non-immigrant worker with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Employer Qualifications for L-1A Visa
The petitioning employer must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company. The qualifying relationship includes parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch. The petitioning employer must be either doing business in the United States or planning to start the operations in the United States. The existing or planned business must be functional during the requested duration of the employee’s stay on L1A visa. The definition of business includes offering services, producing goods or selling goods. It does not mean having a mere presence in the United States as an agent of some business.
If the petitioning employer sends the employee to setup a new office, the employer must prove that sufficient physical space has been secured, the employee worked for the petitioning employer for at least 1 year at the foreign office during the past three years, and the new office in United States will be able to support an executive position within one year from the date of approving the L1A petition.
Employee Qualifications for L-1A Visa
The petitioning employee must meet the requirement of working for the petitioning employer for at least one year during the past three years immediately preceding the date of admission into the United States. Further, the petitioning employee must work in the United States for the petitioning employer in the capacity of an executive or manager. The work must be performed at the company’s offices or one of its qualified branches. The term executive or manager implies that the employee must supervise other staff, without the direct supervision of another executive. The employee might be in charge of a department, division or unit within the company’s offices in the United States.
An employee entering the United States for setting up a new office will be given an initial period of one year to stay. For all other employees on L1A, the petition is approved for an initial period of 3 years.
Family Visa for L-1A Employees
The petitioning employee may bring his spouse as well as children under 21 years of age using the L2 non-immigrant visa. The dependents are also granted the same duration of stay as the petitioning employee. The spouse of an L1A employee can apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) by filing the form I-765. An approved EAD allows the spouse to work in the United States without restrictions.
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